The Pun Also Rises by John Pollack

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



A former word pun champion's funny, erudite, and provocative exploration of puns, the people who make them, and this derided wordplay's remarkable impact on history.

The pun is commonly dismissed as the lowest form of wit, and punsters are often unpopular for their obsessive wordplay. But such attitudes are relatively recent developments. In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack-a former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton-explains why such wordplay is significant: It both revolutionized language and played a pivotal role in making the modern world possible. Skillfully weaving together stories and evidence from history, brain science, pop culture, literature, anthropology, and humor, The Pun Also Rises is an authoritative yet playful exploration of a practice that is common, in one form or another, to virtually every language on earth.

At once entertaining and educational, this engaging book answers fundamental questions: Just what is a pun, and why do people make them? How did punning impact the development of human language, and how did that drive creativity and progress? And why, after centuries of decline, does the pun still matter?

Watch a Video


About John Pollack

See more books from this Author
Former presidential speechwriter John Pollack won the 1995 O. Henry World Championship Pun-Off. Earlier in his career, he wrote for The Hartford Courant and spent three years in Spain as a freelance foreign correspondent writing for the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Miami Herald, and Advertising Age, among others. His previous books include Cork Boat and The World on a String: How to Become a Freelance Foreign Correspondent. He currently works as a speechwriter and consultant for ROI Communication, a consulting firm. He lives in New York City.
Published April 14, 2011 by Gotham. 243 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Pun Also Rises

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Pollack finds puns in ancient cuneiform tablets, today’s newspaper headlines, knock-knock jokes, TV comedy and movies—and, of course, in Master Shakespeare’s copious riffs.

| Read Full Review of The Pun Also Rises

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

opposed the pun simply because Holmes said so, claiming, in “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table,” that if you killed a man for punning, “the jury would be judges of both the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.”...

Apr 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Pun Also Rises


I find this headline puns the equivalent of listening to The Doors - despite having never heard the song or read the article before, I know exactly what’s coming next because the first rhyme or pun that you came up with is also the first one that I did, so put a little bit more effort in, guys, C...

| Read Full Review of The Pun Also Rises


This isn’t to say that punning hasn’t been used to political and social ends, but simply that the value in this small, quirky and impassioned book comes not from the author’s defense of his subject, but rather from the joy he takes in dissecting the pun itself.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Pun Also Rises

Reader Rating for The Pun Also Rises

An aggregated and normalized score based on 58 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review